White actor sparks backlash for ‘gross caricature’ in role voicing a Southern Black woman

Joshua Zitser
Saturday 28 November 2020 14:21
Celebrities

A white voice actor is facing furious backlash after it emerged that he voiced a Southern Black woman in an audio essay.

Kevin Rineer was already facing criticism for defending an influencer who copied a Cosplay look of a Black make-up artist.

Dylan Davis used Twitter to call out white influencer @cohlsworld for stealing his look “without any credit”.

Rineer then stepped in to defend @cohlsworld, writing: “I don’t understand it myself, since they’re cosplaying the same character and doing the character’s same pose.”

After posting that tweet, Rineer was accused by many of attempting to undermine concerns by Black artists about the repeated whitewashing and appropriation of their art.

Things went from bad to worse for him when people unearthed a voiceover of Rineer himself engaging in an act of cultural appropriation.

It emerged that the white actor had voiced a Southern Black woman for an essay called Da Art of Speculatin’.

The author of the essay, Dr Regina N. Bradley, shared her thoughts on the strange and offensive casting.

She wrote on Twitter: “WHAAAAAAAAT THE F*** IS THIS FAKE ASS JAMAICAN ACCENT THO?!?!?!”

In a later tweet, she added: “This is what you think I’d sound like? What  BLACK WOMEN AND SOUTHERN BLACK FOLKS SOUND LIKE?!?!?!”

In response, Rineer faced furious backlash from figures including academic Marc Lamont Hill and author Roxanne Gay.

(Twitter)
(Twitter)
(Twitter)
(Twitter)

Rineer initially apologised in a YouTube video but it has since been removed.

He has also deleted his Twitter account.

Fireside Fiction, who published the audio essay, has removed it from their website.

Pablo Defendini, the publisher,  apologised on Twitter for the “ridiculously careless and, frankly, racist” decision to let a white man do the voiceover.

He explained that they would rerecord the essay with a Black woman voicing it, he would apologise to Bradley and that he would take steps to try and make amends.

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